Hey Mr Postman
Who and where was the mysterious Lizzie? Simon might need a bit of help in order to solve this mystery
Simon, the postman, looked again at the postcard. It was definitely addressed to 49FranklinAvenue yet there only seemed to be thirty well-established homes.
He was fairly new to the area, having moved on his 30th birthday! Perhaps there was a Franklin Road, Street or Crescent? He checked his phone. The signal wasn’t great but eventually he found there were no other similar road names.
Of course, that didn’t account for any new-builds. It seemed to take an age before new postcodes were updated.
He studied the postcard. The picture was of a bunch of roses. The warmth of the red made him smile. They cheered him on a bitterly cold February morning. It was almost Valentine’s Day; this card could be really important…
It was addressed to Lizzie Halladay, so he looked up that name, but the search wasn’t helpful. Time was getting on and he needed to finish his round.
He slipped the postcard into his pocket and continued on his way.
He returned to the depot and spoke to his supervisor. Together they examined the postcard, but even the postmark wasn’t clear. They had no clue as to who had sent it. It wasn’t even signed, and the message seemed rather cryptic.
“What do we do now?” Simon asked. “There’s nothing more we can do.” His boss shook his head. “The policy is to place it in the ‘undelivered’ tray for one month, after which it’s shredded and the paper is recycled.”
Simon wasn’t happy with that.
“I don’t like to stand in the way of true love. Can I try and track her down?”
“It’ll have to be in your own time,” his supervisor said. “Don’t do anything to give the post office a bad name! And remember – we haven’t had this conversation.”
Once Simon had finished his shift, he returned home to his empty flat and made himself a bite to eat. There was no significant other in his life, and having only recently moved to the area, he hadn’t yet made friends.
His time was his own, and he loved a challenge. It didn’t take long to design a poster. Are you Lizzie Hall a day? Urgent Letter waiting for you at the post office depot. Bring ID.
Just as he was about to press Print, his supervisor’s words came back to him, don’ t do anything to give the post office a bad name. This wasn’t part of their policy, but he could still ask around.
Perhaps it wasn’t number forty-nine at all? But number four or number nine? It was a bit of a long shot, but worth a try.
He grabbed his coat and went back in the direction of Franklin Avenue.
“Sorry to bother you,” he said as a heavily pregnant woman at number four answered the door. “You wouldn’t be Lizzie Halladay, would you?”
“Not me,” she said. “Why do you ask?” Simon explained and the woman told him it wouldn’t be number nine as it was empty, the elderly occupier having died some months ago.
“No worries, just worth a try,” he said cheerfully. “Here’s my number if you think of anything.”
“Good luck – hope you find her.”
Simon began to concentrate more on the message. Was it in code? He woke at three am in a cold sweat. He was wide awake with a feeling he had the answer on the tip of his tongue.
He lay in bed trying to recall the cryptic clue from the card. If you’ re not a Gill ian Flynn female, then Lind is far ne. X
The more he thought, the more complicated it sounded. He dozed a while but woke, as usual, at six and got up to make tea and toast. It being his day off, he took them back to bed, listening to the local radio station.
Chrissie Cala was the DJ; she was inviting people to share their Valentine’s stories to get people in the mood for this romantic of all days.
Simon reached for his phone and briefly told the receptionist his dilemma.
Now here we have a chance to unite two people,” Chrissie Cala was saying, “I’ll let a local postie explain…”
Simon was careful not to give away any personal data.
“I’ve got a postcard to deliver to a lady but her address doesn’t exist,” he began and gave a concise list of all the things he’d tried so far. “The card says If you’re not a Gill ian Flynn female, then Lindisfarne. And it’s signed with a kiss.”
“So, if this means something to you, or anyone can shed any light, now’s your chance to get in touch.” Chrissie Cala played a popular song and chatted to Simon while his tea went cold. “And how many Valentines have you sent?”
“Me? None.” Simon felt he had to explain. “I’ve only just moved here and I don’t know anyone yet.”
Back on air, Chrissie told her audience what a great response they’d had already – calls, emails, texts.
“Margaret on London Road says, Gill ian Flynn wrote Gone Girl, so does that mean, if you’ re not a gone girl… if you’ ve not gone away? Would that make sense?”
“Maybe it would, but I still don’t have the correct address for her,” Simon explained. “All I know is that 49 Franklin Avenue isn’t right.”
Chrissie chatted away like an old friend while the adverts played. On air she said, “Perhaps this will help? Liam says that at the university, there are several halls of residence and one of them is called Franklin. There are about fifty studio flats. Maybe she’s there?”
“That’s definitely worth a try, especially if she’s is studying Literature and has read GoneGirl?”
“Matt has emailed; he reckons it means, if you’re not a GoneGirl, that is,
“OK,Simonthe postman,”theDJ said.“Youmust promisetocallif you’resuccessful”
moved away, then MeetMeOnThe Corner – a Lindisfarne hit, AND there is The Corner Café. The next line of the song is When the lights are coming on… The Corner Café opens at 7am. Could Lover Boy be sitting there waiting for his girl?”
The voices faded out and Lindisfarne’s hit song played. Simon heard the chorus, Meet me on the corner when the lights are comingon… By now, Simon was back out of bed and dressing. His plan was to head down to the Corner Café to make sure everyone knew of this potential rendezvous. “OK, Simon the postman,” the DJ continued. “You must promise you’ll call me if you’re successful with your matchmaking. Listen out tomorrow, folks, for more romantic Valentine stories…”
He found the café, which had opened at seven to serve cooked breakfasts. Once more, he told his story and left his number… just in case.
The university campus was close by; a site map showed him where to go.
Usually, all mail was left in a pile on the floor at the communal entrance. Someone had begun to sort it into piles – first floor, second floor and so on.
He knocked on the door marked forty-nine, but there was no reply.
“She’s given up, moved out,” a neighbour told him as he fumbled with his key. By the look of him, the student seemed to be coming home from a night out, hair dishevelled and clothes creased.
“Who lived here?” Simon asked, and held his breath.
“Elizabeth. A mature student. She never chatted much. About a fortnight ago, she packed her bags and disappeared. University’s not for everyone. There’s always a percentage who drop out.”
“And you don’t know her full name or have a forwarding address?” Simon asked feeling yet again it was one step forward and another back again.
“I didn’t really know her, she never fitted in. She seemed quite sad. The Admin Office would have her details.”
It was still early, and the administrative centre didn’t open until nine. Simon returned to the Corner Café and ordered a fresh cup of tea and a bacon butty.
He’d read the paper from cover to cover; something he never got to do.
Feeling full, and optimistic, he approached the university Admin Office and repeated the whole story.
“I can’t give out any personal information on any of our students,” the woman told him.
“I understand.” Simon nodded. “But you could call her and give her my number and ask her to call me? It could be important – a life-changing moment.”
“I shouldn’t.” The woman hesitated. “Give me ten minutes and be prepared, she may not want to be contacted.”
Simon paced up and down, wondering why he’d not just filed the postcard in the undelivered tray and left it at that.
His phone rang. It wasn’t Lizzie but Chrissie from the radio station.
“Can you come to the studio tomorrow for the breakfast show?” she asked. “Pardon?”
“We’ve been inundated with calls and messages saying how good it is to hear of someone going the extra mile to do his job. You’re a real hero and I’d really like you to be our Valentine’s Celebrity Guest.”
“Thanks, but I’m on an early shift tomorrow,” he said. “But I promise I’ll call and leave a message if I do have any joy.”
No sooner had that call ended when his phone rang again. Unlike bright and breezy Chrissie, this voice was quiet and hesitant.
“Hello? My name’s Elizabeth Halladay. The university said you were trying to get hold of me.”
Yet again, Simon went through the story. “I’ve got the postcard safe at work – you just need to come in with some ID.”
“Thank you, but I know who it’s from, he’s found me. My husband and I were going through a difficult patch. I felt he was always putting me down, so, behind his back, I applied to university.
“My intention was to get a degree and prove to him I’m not stupid. I walked out last October and ever since, he’s been trying to find me. He’d finally tracked me down, having left all sorts of weird messages for me – in newspapers, shop windows, graffiti on walls and on hundreds of notice boards up and down the country. I never knew he cared.
“I missed him, my home, my friends. I’m doing my studies online now. I’m determined to get that degree!”
“Can I share your story with Chrissie Cala from the radio breakfast show and thousands of listeners?” Simon asked.
“I’ll do it. I’ll call her now. And thanks, I appreciate you trying to deliver the card. It was over and above your call of duty, and at least I can say he does appreciate me now, so it’s a happy ending.”
The alarm went off at six. Simon got up, showered and dressed in his post office uniform. Having had such an awful night previously, he’d slept soundly and was looking forward to going to work.
He was surprised by the number of people around at that time. Somehow he’d not noticed the Outside Broadcast Unit parked in front of the sorting office.
“What’s all this?” he asked, looking at the four sacks of cards lined up against the office wall.
“They’re for you.” His boss smiled.
“But I’d rather you did your round first, because it’ll take you all day to open them. Pop them in your car later.”
“Chrissie Cala mentioned a local postie hero trying to help someone, and had no one special in his life. It looks like there’s a lot of people wanting to meet you.”
“I’m top of the list,” a little blonde woman said quietly. She seemed to be saving her loud, confident voice for the show, but her smile was for him alone.